Cameroon government spokesman reveals gov't unease, denounces French Interference
October 9, 2014

In a sign that the government of Cameroon remains extremely vulnerable to the criticisms of the legal procedure vis-a-vis the corruption trials carried out within the framework of Operation Epervier, Issa Tchiroma, the Minister of Communication and Government spokesman October 3, granted a press conference at which he bristled at any suggestion of state interference while pouring vitriol on foreign parties for not respecting Cameroon judicial sovereignty.

"It is a pity that political argument is systematically brandished each time the legal authorities take action against those alleged to have embezzled public fund", said the minister who though speaking in general terms, singled out the case of Lydienne Eyoum, the lawyer whose sentencing to 25 year in prison last September 26 appears to have bought things to a head, especially with respect to her nationality since she is a French woman though of Cameroonian heritage.

"As regards the present case, some appear to belief that on the basis of her French nationality, Ms. Eyoum should be immune from any legal proceedings”. Mr. Tchiroma was categorical that his was in no way possible, and taking a dig at the member of the French community who have already made known their skepticism about the verdict and declared their outrage about her detention condition, he observed: “Regardless of the influence of one’s nation, the only relevant principles as regard responsibility is that of the territory in which the crime was committed. There are many Cameroonians incarcerated abroad but Cameroon respect the sovereignty of these countries as well as the independence of judiciaries. We insist on the same respect used in regarding foreigners accused of committing crimes within our national territory ".

Although Mr. Tchiroma's argument cannot be faulted from a legal standpoint especially with some prominent Cameroonian personalities like the artist Longue. Longue currently languishing in French penitentiaries, what the minister failed to address was the lack of legitimacy and credibility, which taints Cameroon’s legal system and casts aspersions on many verdicts. Moreover trials carried out within the framework of Operation Epervier are widely perceived (and not only internationally) to be highly personalized affairs, targeting certain undesirable but circumventing many untouchable who in the opinion of most, should come under the keenest scrutiny.

Courtesy: The Times Journal, Monday Oct 6, 2014